Is a Fifteen Minute Break Enough?


Senior Nani Delgado while taking a break from Zoom and going outdoors. Photo courtesy of Nani Delgado.

You wake up bright and early. Maybe you go outside, maybe grab some breakfast, maybe you go on social media. But every student should be on Zoom at 9 a.m. on the dot until 4:45 pm. It is up to students to put a hard stop on school work at the end of the day and on weekends to make sure that they have time for self-care activities.

The Zoom class day may look the same for every student, but it affects students differently. Some feel it gives them more flexibility and others feel they have lost flexibility in their schedules. Some feel they have improved at time management, others feel it is hard to manage the flow of their work because, in Zoom, each class feels so much like the last one. Some students appreciate the no-commute, no-fuss reality of attending class in Zoom while others miss the separation between their school day and their time at home.

“I feel that these breaks are rushed because I have to get my other materials for my next class or make sure that my computer is charged which factors into having less time for my break,” said senior Nani Delgado.

When students discuss the advantages of Zoom learning, they point to where teachers put a video on Google Classroom and assign a worksheet for students to finish by the end of class. This approach to distance learning can provide students with more independent time if they finish their classwork early — more than they would have in in-person classes. This approach allows students to shape their own schedule   However, other classes stay on Zoom the whole time and even sometimes go over their time.

Some students have found it difficult to adapt to learning online because more independence means less constant guidance from teachers. Time management is a major factor in determining a student’s attitude toward life on Zoom. Students who feel it works well try to balance all assignments assigned the day of in order to turn them in on time for the next class. It depends on what a student’s day-to-day school schedule looks like whether and when they can carve out time to look after their mental health. Putting homework first and then doing other activities has become the new normal routine.

“For me, it’s been easier,” said senior Francisco Lopez Espinosa. “ I could do runs and workouts in the morning. Sometimes it would be a lot because of a lot of schoolwork and big projects, but other than that, you can relax and find things that calm you down.” 

Problems arise from being Zoomed all day, such as students being tired at the end of the day and not wanting to do homework, which leads to procrastination. And some people miss the interactive activities they would have if a class were in person. But a lot of people say it is better for them to do it at home.

 “Well, there can be things that can be hard, meshing school and home and that is something I’m not used to,” said senior Abraham Bojorquez. “If you were to ask what I thought about it now, I like it much better than when it first started because I can get up and do something if I’m a little worn out.”

Students and teachers agree that it is important to move away from the computer screen and find ways to take breaks and de-stress. Some key tips students highlight for mental health activities that students previously mentioned that have helped them destress are going outside, reaching out to friends, and trying new activities. Most students feel that weekends are the only days in which they can gain freedom away from their computers. And even the weekends fly quicker than a snap of a finger.